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Aegon told to rethink accounting methods

Dutch insurance giant Aegon has been criticised by the Dutch government and told to reform the way it constructs its annual accounts.

Aegon&#39s unique practice smooths its profits over 30 years, in effect, acting as a giant with-profits fund in the information it gives to investors. It has been attacked for lack of transparency.

Aegon is the parent company of Scottish Equitable, ScotEq International and Aegon Asset Management.

In a speech last Dec-ember, Aegon executive chairman Kees Storm said its practices have been criticised and are “not yet widely followed”.

The Dutch government will introduce legislation by May that will outlaw the way the global insurance company does its books.

Accounting practices are being scrutinised worldwide following the collapse of US giant Enron.

A spokesman says: “We are aware that there will be a new law going through parliament soon.

“The Dutch Association of Insurers has objected on a number of points and we await to see what will be decided.”

A spokesman for the Dutch Finance Ministry says: “The so-called Aegon method, which levels profits over the last 30 years, means you cannot know what has happened in, say, the last two years.

We do not think it is good for transparency, accountability or comparability.”


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